Doughty Cable Float Sparks Listings Market
One of Britain's biggest privately-owned manufacturing groups is being groomed for a stock market listing, in a move that reflects brightening sentiment about the global economy.
I have learnt that the owner of HellermannTyton, which specialises in making cable ties and fasteners for a wide range of industrial purposes, is preparing to file for a flotation of the company.
Doughty Hanson, the private equity firm which has owned HellermannTyton since acquiring it in 2005 for about £300m, has appointed Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, the investment banks, to work on the listing. London is a strong contender to host the flotation although Doughty is also expected to consider other locations.
The appointment of the two banks - with others expected to be hired - comes amid a resurgent appetite for stock market flotations. In recent weeks Crest Nicholson, the housebuilder, and Countrywide Holdings, the estate agency chain, have announced listing plans.
A glut of other companies, including Global Switch, the data centre operator, Merlin Entertainment Group, the owner of Alton Towers, and Royal Mail, are all expected to announce initial public offerings of shares in the next year.
Doughty Hanson's decision to pursue an IPO of HellermannTyton this year is significant because the buyout firm has aborted two previous attempts to sell the company. UBS, and subsequently DC Advisory Partners, were hired to find a buyer for the manufacturer in 2011 and 2012 respectively, but neither effort was successful.
Improving economic sentiment in some of the core markets to which HellermannTyton sells its products means that a sale of the company, rather than a flotation, is not impossible.
The value that Doughty Hanson is seeking is unclear, although it reportedly put a price tag of up to £800m on HellermannTyton during the two earlier processes.
HellermannTyton operates two manufacturing plants in the UK and employs hundreds of people at the sites in Manchester and Plymouth. It is headquartered in Luxembourg and its main UK base is in Crawley, West Sussex.
Doughty Hanson, whose co-founder Nigel Doughty, the former owner of Nottingham Forest FC, died last year, is a prominent participant in the UK's private equity industry. It owns stakes in companies such as Vue Entertainment, the cinema operator, and Tumi, the luggage and consumer products manufacturer.
It bought HellermannTyton from Spirent, the industrial group. Since the takeover seven years ago, Doughty Hanson has grown HellermannTyton's core business in the automotive and electrical sectors. The manufacturer now has operations in 34 countries and 19,000 customers.
Spokesmen for Doughty Hanson and HellermannTyton declined to comment.